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How to Write a French Cover Letter

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When writing a cover letter to accompany a resume, it is important to follow business etiquette. If you are applying for a job in France, a few details of the standard cover letter are different from a cover letter you might prepare for a job application in the United States. No matter what type of work you are applying for, show respect to the country and impress your potential employers by formatting and writing your letter to their exact specifications.

Start a new document on your computer's word processor. Set the text to left-justified, and create a header with your name, address, telephone and fax number, and professional email address, giving each item its own line.

Set the text to right-justified and enter the recipient's name and contact information opposite from your own. Enter the city you are currently in and the current date below this information (i.e. "Normandy, le 9 Avril 2007). Doublespace and type a salutation addressing the recipient formally, such as "Madame Jenoit."

Write the introductory paragraph explaining who you are and what specific position you are interested in applying for. Follow with a short paragraph that shows you have researched the company and the job, naming a few statistics, activities or current projects that are relevant to the job.

Write a third paragraph explaining your own qualifications, highlighting education and experience details that are most relevant to the job. Follow with another short paragraph that explains why these details make you the best candidate for the job, and indicate that you would like to move ahead with an interview. Thank the recipient for his time and consideration. Write the appropriate French closing, also known as the "formule de politesse": "Je vous prie d'agréer, [Madame/Monsieur], l'expression de mes salutations distinguées." Type your name, print, and sign.


If you are not fluent in French, have a colleague who is proofread your letter carefully. France takes great pride in its language, and a cover letter filled with typos will not make the best first impression.